Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘economy’ Category

U.S. Economy Sees 3 Percent GDP Growth in Q3 2017

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TGIF.

And thank heavens for another good quarter of U.S. GDP growth.

The U.S. economy grew at a 3 percent annual rate from July to September, propelled by steady spending from American businesses and households, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Consumer spending increased at a 2.4 percent rate in the quarter (with spending likely suppressed by storms Harvey and Irma), while businesses continued to step up investing spending (with non-residential fixed investment growth at 3.9 percent in the quarter).

The increase in real GDP in the third quarter  reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures, private inventory investment, nonresidential fixed investment, exports, and federal government spending.

These increases were partly offset by negative contributions from residential fixed investment in state and local government spending.

You can see the full announcement from the Bureau of Economic Analysis here.

Written by turbotodd

October 27, 2017 at 8:34 am

Posted in 2017, economy, GDP, Uncategorized

Austin’s F1 Debut Gets A Checkered Flag

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Britain’s Lewis Hamilton celebrates his Formula 1 victory in Austin yesterday Texas style, after overcoming two-time world champion Sebastian Vittel in a sneaky pass that Vittel never could recover from. Austin’s F1 race was the first held in the United States since 2007, and the first at Austin’s new “Circuit of the Americas” track. Over 200,000 fans from around the globe attended this first-of-its-kind event in Austin, many of them giving our fair city glowing reviews. To which I say, this was only our first, and it will only get better from here. (Photo: Getty Images)

Myself, along with a lot of other Austinites, learned quite a bit about Formula 1 racing over the weekend.

Though I didn’t get out to the track myself, I watched the entire race on TV.

Of course, I also did a bit of research leading into the race, and also interacted with some experts via social media during the race, which made the experience all the more helpful.

My general impressions are wow, those are some bad *** cars! What really struck me about F1 was the “Formula,” where the tinkering with the cars is limited mainly to that, so the focus is instead on strategy and tactics by the “constructor” crews and the drivers themselves.

One tank of gas, two sets of tires, the track (in this case, the “Circuit of the Americas”), and your pit strategy.

That seems to me to equalize the competition in a way you don’t see in every sport, making the viewing experience that much more compelling.

Lewis Hamilton from the U.K. took the top of the podium, forcing Sebastian Vettel to wait until the 20th and final race of the season to determine whether or not he’ll go “back to back to back” and win three straight F1 championships.

As for Austin’s ability to host an event of this size, so far, the reviews are pretty flattering. We were expecting over 200,000 people over the long weekend, and despite the expected traffic challenges, the event went off quite smoothly.

The virgin track certainly had some gripping challenges, but that actually made for a more scintillating race, and certainly didn’t keep the drivers from doing some aggressive passing. And the weather was simply perfect.

To my mind, it really starts to cement Austin’s reputation as an “international” city, and I’m looking forward to our hosting future races.

As for me personally, it’s official: I’m a converted F1 fan, and will be making it even more official by adding a new section to MyESPN home page!

Written by turbotodd

November 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Live @ Information On Demand 2012: A Q&A With Nate Silver On The Promise Of Prediction

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Day 3 at Information On Demand 2012.

The suggestion to “Think Big” continued, so Scott Laningham and I sat down very early this morning with Nate Silver, blogger and author of the now New York Times bestseller, “The Signal and the Noise” (You can read the review of the book in the Times here).

Nate, who is a youngish 34, has become our leading statistician through his innovative analyses of political polling, but made his original name by building a widely acclaimed baseball statistical analysis system called “PECOTA.”

Today, Nate runs the award-winning political website FiveThirtyEight.com, which is now published in The New York Times and which has made Nate the public face of statistical analysis and political forecasting.

In his book, the full title of which is “The Signal and The Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t,” Silver explores how data-based predictions underpin a growing sector of critical fields, from political polling to weather forecasting to the stock market to chess to the war on terror.

In the book, Nate poses some key questions, including what kind of predictions can we trust, and are the “predicters” using reliable methods? Also, what sorts of things can, and cannot, be predicted?

In our conversation in the greenroom just prior to his keynote at Information On Demand 2012 earlier today, Scott and I probed along a number of these vectors, asking Nate about the importance of prediction in Big Data, statistical influence on sports and player predictions (a la “Moneyball”), how large organizations can improve their predictive capabilities, and much more.

It was a refreshing and eye-opening interview, and I hope you enjoy watching it as much as Scott and I enjoyed conducting it!

Live @ IBM InterConnect 2012: A Q&A With IBM’s Steve Wilkins On The Asian-Pacific Economic Juggernaut

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Steve Wilkins is the vice president for IBM Software Marketing in its Global Growth Markets organization, where he is responsible for all marketing of the IBM Websphere, Tivoli, Information Management, Rational and Lotus brands, generating leads via advertising, the Web, events and direct marketing in Asia — Korea, China, India, ASEAN and Australia — and with colleagues in other growth markets in central and eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America.

IBM’s vice president for IBM Software Marketing in our Global Growth Markets organization, Steve Wilkins, has a unique perspective on the Asia-Pacific region, and was also instrumental in helping make the IBM InterConnect event a reality here in Singapore.

The last time I saw Steve, we were sharing a cab in Seoul, South Korea, comparing notes about our respective BlackBerry Bolds and various mobile travel applications we had been trying to help us maintain our sanity while on the road.

That was only a short two years ago, and the fact that neither of us continues to carry the Bold says more about just how fast the market is moving, in Asia and beyond, than can I! (We both carry iPhones these days, along with my newfound Nokia 1280 “global” phone acquired here in Singapore this week.)

I sat down with Steve here in Singapore to get the lowdown on the Asia-Pacific market. Steve offered insights ranging from the slowdown and structural shifts we’re witnessing in China (shifts that are creating massive new economic opportunity for individuals and businesses alike) to the ability of Asia-Pacific telecommunications providers to keep pace with the massive growth in mobile computing in the region!

Thanks again to Steve for taking the time to share his wisdoms and insights about this incredibly exciting area of the globe, one that offers massive opportunity but which also requires close attention be paid to the idiosyncratic needs and customs of the various countries that the region constitutes.

You can see our interview here.

Big Bird’s Social Media Job Search

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Poor Big Bird.

Through no fault of his own, he becomes the punching bag of the Republican party during last night’s presidential debate, which by all counts have suggested provided a big “W” in the Romney column.

I grew up with Big Bird.  I know Big Bird well.  Big Bird is a friend of mine.

Please don’t kill Big Bird.

If it weren’t for Big Bird, I might never have learned to read.  Which means I might also have never learned to write.

Which means I couldn’t bring you these blog posts on such a regular basis.

I guess I could draw stick figures and post them here, but I don’t think they would be nearly as interesting.

What interested me about the debate, beyond the substance (sic? was there any substance, or just an amalgamation of statistics thrown about?), was the social media response.

Of course, on Twitter, the debate Twitterstream flew by so quickly, I was having flashbacks to the Arab Spring.

In fact, according to Beth Fouhy writing for the Huffington Post, Twitter announced after the debate it had been the most tweeted event in U.S. political history.

Heaven help us.

There were apparently 11.1 million Tweets — this brings it in behind the most recent Grammy Awards, MTV’s Video Music Awards, and the Super Bowl.

I’ll leave aside for the moment the fact that our first and probably most important presidential debate in years trails the MTV Video Music Awards in terms of Tweetability.  Along that road lies the fall of empires and such.

What was most troubling to me was that comments from the social media echo chamber seemed to be pretty much that, an echo.

Mind you, I don’t expect an Alexis de Tocqueville treatise on democracy from my social media compadres, but an original, insightful thought or comment about the substance of the debate might be good every once in a while.

But no.  We got @FiredBigBird (Update: We had @FiredBigBird.  His Twitter account has apparently been suspended.  Poor Big Bird can’t get a break!)

Of which there are now were over 27,000 followers.  I am not ashamed to admit this fact, because it’s my job to keep up with such social media trends.

What’s your excuse???

I’ve been on Twitter since 2007 — I was even part of that original crowd at SXSW Interactive using Twitter that first year to plan lunch and escape boring conference sessions.  I had no clue someday I’d be following Big Bird on Twitter concerned for his future employment!

Yeah, I’m a little jealous.  I’ve been laboring in the Twitter trenches for years, and I’ve eked out just over 2,000 followers on some serious and substantive issues concerning our planet, technology, business, politics, and, yes, golf!

So, like our Republican candidate, I’ve decided to come out swinging.  Enough of this Turbo Twitter Travesty.

I’m about to get bold.

I’m going big and I’m going wide.

I’m going to take on the visage of one of the Sesame Street characters, because that’s clearly the only way anyone can get any real attention in this joint.

So I’m posting a poll below, and you, the audience, get to vote for the Sesame Street character that best personifies me “Turboness.”

Vote early, and vote often.  If it works for America, by God, it can work for my blog!

As for Sesame Street’s funding options…well, Big Bird has to earn his way just like the rest of us.

If he can’t make it on TV, there’s always Broadway, or off-Broadway…or, well, I’m sure there’s a football team somewhere in America that would take him on as their mascot.

Just don’t ask him to Tweet too often…those velvet Big Bird hands don’t do so well on the iPhone keyboard.

Written by turbotodd

October 4, 2012 at 2:59 pm

IBM 2Q 2012 Earnings: $3.51 EPS (Up 14% YOY), $25.8 Billion Revenue

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IBM 2012 second quarter earnings were just released, and IBM’s operating earnings per share (non-GAAP) came in above expectations at $3.51/share, a 14 percent increase YOY.

Revenue came in at $25.8 billion, down 3 percent YOY, but up 1 percent YOY when adjusted for common currency.

Operating net income was $4.1 billion, up 8 percent YOY, and free cash flow came in at $3.7 billion, up 9 percent YOY.

Second quarter segment highlights included software revenue led by Europe, Japan and the growth markets, and services profit, which was up 18 percent (with the services backlog flat at constant currency).

IBM’s software business reported revenues of $6.2 billion, which were up 4 percent when adjusted for common currency.

Once again, the WebSphere brand led the way, coming in at 3 percent growth YOY (7 percent when adjusted for common currency).

The Tivoli brand grew 2 percent YOY, 6 percent when adjusted for common currency. Overall gross margins for the software business were flat at 88.4 percent, but pre-tax income was $2.5 billion, up some 8 percent YOY.

IBM’s Systems and Technology group revenues were negatively impacted by the product cycle, coming in down 9 percent YOY, but STG gained share in the POWER systems segment.

IBM saw continued strength in its growth initiatives, with growth markets realizing YTD revenue growth of 9 percent YOY when adjusted for constant currency, and its business analytics business up 13 percent YOY.

Cloud computing revenue doubled YOY, and Smarter Planet revenue grew by over 20 percent YOY.

IBM’s annuity business provided a solid base of revenue, profit, and cash, and productivity initiatives drove structural improvements and helped contribute to IBM’s margin expansion.

Following is what IBM CEO Ginny Rometty had to say about IBM’s 2Q 2012 earnings:

“In the second quarter, we delivered strong profit, earnings per share and free cash flow growth. This performance reflects continued strength in our growth initiatives and investments in higher value opportunities,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM president and chief executive officer. “These are fundamental elements of our long-term business model.

“Looking ahead, we are well positioned to deliver greater value to a wider range of clients and to our shareholders. Given our performance in the first half and our outlook for the second half, we are raising our full-year operating earnings per share expectations to at least $15.10.”

Written by turbotodd

July 18, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Madrid: IBM’s Mike Rhodin On Insight-Driven Computing

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IBM vice president Mike Rhodin hit the stage this morning at the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit, with presenter emcee Jon Briggs introducing Mike as “the man who eats analytics for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.’

IBM senior vice president Mike Rhodin explains to the gathered audience in Madrid how the Smarter Commerce initiative was a logical and inevitable offshoot of IBM’s smarter planet campaign, one driven by the need for more insight- and action-driven analytics.

Rhodin’s talk was entitled “Transform Your Business Around the Customer,” again with the central theme of the Summit that if more businesses wanted to keep theirs, they would increasingly have to pivot their business around customer needs.

Rhodin indicated that he wanted to take a step backward from yesterday’s more outcome-driven discussion, and instead talk about “some of the foundational ideas that led us to Smarter Commerce.”

He explained that four years ago, IBM started a conversation about having a “smarter planet,” one increasingly instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent, and that since that time, “analytics emerged as a centerpiece across our entire portfolio.”

Rhodin joked that the financial crisis’ onslaught wasn’t the best time to launch a new marketing campaign, but then explained smarter planet wasn’t that, that it was a signal call heralding a new age of computing. That it was, in fact, the beginning of a movement that was going to happen “no matter what else happened in the world.”

The change this movement would bring was startling.  We saw the social media embraced in both the social, political, and, increasingly business realms, and we saw that the physical world was about to become digitized…to some degree, because of the crisis.

Scott Laningham and I sat down with Mike Rhodin in the Smarter Commerce Global Summit Solutions Center just after his keynote in Madrid here this morning to discuss the evolution of the Smarter Commerce initiative, and the opportunity it, and other emerging technologies such as IBM’s Watson, provide companies looking to become more analytics and data-driven.

Ergo, the world, and organizations, needed to better understand systemic risk in advance of its rearing its ugly head.  Hence, the need to instrument the world around us.

“Information was flowing around the planet at a breakneck speed,” Rhodin articulated, “and so there was another form of input to make business decisions that became apparent.”

“We also instrumented the virtual world,” he went on, “whereby understanding the sentiment of your employees, your partners, and other constituents was critical.”

Yet all this new data was overwhelming many. “It was growing at such a speed that people couldn’t read or process it with traditional means, and so that’s where analytics started to play a key role, and served as a foundation for Smarter Commerce.”

“This began what we’re classifying as the next generation of computing,” Rhodin went on to explain.  “We went through the age of ‘tabulating’ — we’re now entering the age of “information-based” computing.”

In this age, business outcomes are increasingly insight-driven, solutions are more intelligent, and technology is designed to be more and more cognitive.

“It’s not about understanding what happens, but rather, what you do about it, what actions you take,” Rhodin concluded.

With this explosion of data from a hyper-connected society of empowered consumers, we “must extract insight from our most important assets – employees and customers – through smarter analytics,” and the challenge, then, is to address the need for “volume, velocity, and veracity” to help find the right data amidst all those needles amidst all those haystacks.

And it’s a big series of haystacks and needles.  The data generated between the dawn of civilization and 2003 is now created every two days! Rhodin explained.

He went on: “These next gen systems are creating opportunities in IT we haven’t seen in 50 years.  But now, with all this information and analytics, and the march of globalization, we can start to automate areas of business we could never automate before. We can start to automate and make more intelligent the front-office areas of our business. Chief Financial Officers, CMOs, head of sales, HR…we can turn HR from a reactive to proactive process.”

“We’ve identified a new pattern of automation across industries, one whereby we can instrument, interconnect, and analyze more and more data about the world, and in the process unlock more and more valuable insight,” he explained. “We are infusing intelligent into the fabric  of organizational processes. This shift is as profound as the last evolution was to transaction processing and back office automation.”

The shift being, of course, a continual transition whereby today’s analytics evolves into tomorrow’s cognitive computing capability, where Watson-style technologies utilizing natural language processing and hypothesis-generating and adaptation and learning systems virtually reinvent the IT future.

“We can remake parts of industries that have been untouched by IT in the past,” Rhodin concluded.

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